The Private Refugee Sponsor Network (Ontario), also known as PRSN, is an incorporated non-profit organization that assists private refugee sponsor groups – whether faith-based, community-based, or a group of five. We help sponsors connect, learn and share.
Our goal is to promote and ensure the successful post-arrival settlement of newcomers by private sponsors in partnership with many organizations in the refugee settlement sector.
We do not sponsor refugees, find sponsors, serve individual newcomers, or help with immigration issues.
We offer sponsor networking and training services at no cost. Any private sponsor or sponsor group in Ontario can join us to receive information about our programs and services by completing the Contact Us form on this site.
We are the sponsor go-to source for information-sharing, and solving post-arrival issues as well as training to develop best practice. Experienced sponsors can mentor first-time sponsors with immediate answers to pressing issues.
We recognize there are gaps in support services for private sponsors. Settlement agencies and organizations that serve government-assisted refugees are often overwhelmed and are unable to assist private sponsors in a timely way, but that is where PRSN can help. The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) offers excellent pre-arrival information, but we are committed to post-arrival issues. We focus on building new relationships as well as maintaining existing ones with organizations in the refugee sector.
Our committees are continually adding new programs and resources to help sponsors. We recently launched a new online Lunch & Learn program and a mentorship program is ready for pilot testing. We are also working on a new regional Resource Directory by sponsors for sponsors, and a series of Best Practice guidelines, based on experts’ advice and sponsor experience. We are working on creating more effective relationships between sponsors and settlement agencies, as well as with sponsorship agreement holders. Check out our newsletter, CONNECTIONS, under the Resources tab for up to-date information. And, we contribute to a body of knowledge around private refugee sponsor research.
If you are a private sponsor in another province or territory, we would love to talk about how you can set up a network in your jurisdiction. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We all benefit when we connect, learn and share. We have an opportunity to close the gaps in support to private refugee sponsors when we work together. We have an opportunity to create stronger relationships with settlement agencies and sponsorship agreement holders (SAHs), and we identify what we need to do to ensure best practice. We will be better able to demonstrate the important role we play in settling newcomers in Canada, whether we are in an urban or a smaller or rural community. We are here for you.
Between November 2015 and December 2016, close to 40,000 Syrians arrived in Canada and
nearly half those newcomers were privately sponsored. Data collected from a variety of sources documented the challenges in refugee settlement.
Private sponsors began to collaborate, share experiences, and identify areas for improvement by working together. Experienced sponsors began to mentor first-time sponsors on post-arrival issues leading to a resource around best practice. An informal network was born that led to the development of PRSN.
Since 2016, more than 500 sponsors working together have become a formal Ontario provincial network. There is potential, using this model, to grow the network concept in other provinces and territories.
The Network offers online learning opportunities to address issues identified by private sponsors. We have offered close to 35 learning opportunities since our work began to meet immediate need around issues of culture, accommodation, employment, education, health, ESL, among others.
We recently launched an online Lunch & Learn tool with topics requested by sponsors, and are working on the launch of a mentorship program along with other settlement tools and online training modules.
Participants have appreciated the practical tips, expert advice and counsel, and input from individuals with lived experience. They come to our events with questions and go home with answers. They avoid pitfalls, access new ideas and new resources.
We offer an opportunity for private refugee sponsors to connect, learn and share. We have found that sharing our experience, challenges and success goes a long way to ensure effective and efficient settlement practice. And, most important of all is that newcomers benefit from sponsors connecting.
We are 100% volunteer driven with the goal of acquiring operational and project funding to allow for the expansion of our programs and services to all private sponsors who want them.
We want to be a trusted resource, where sponsors can learn from each other through collaboration with settlement agencies and experts in a variety of fields. We want to make a difference in the lives of newcomers.